By James Franklin Johnson
the power of people to think compassion or empathy for one another—and exhibit that emotion through supplying convenience or assistance—is a major antidote to violence and aggression. In historical Greece, the epics of Homer and the tragic dramas played each one spring within the Theater of Dionysus provided electorate worthwhile classes about the necessity and correct program of compassionate motion. This booklet is the 1st full-length exam of compassion (eleos or oiktos in Greek) as a dramatic topic in historical Greek literature.
via cautious textual research, James F. Johnson surveys the remedy of compassion within the epics of Homer, specially the Iliad, and within the works of the 3 nice Athenian tragedians: Aischylos, Euripides, and Sophokles. He emphasizes reciprocity, reverence, and retribution as defining positive aspects of Greek compassion through the Homeric and Archaic sessions. In framing his research, Johnson distinguishes compassion from pity. while in English the observe “pity” indicates an perspective of superiority towards the patient, the be aware “compassion” has a extra optimistic connotation and implies equality in prestige among topic and item. even if students have conventionally translated eleos and oiktos as “pity,” Johnson argues that our modern day suggestion of compassion comes closest to encompassing the which means of these Greek phrases. starting with Homer, eleos normally denotes an emotion that involves motion of a few style, while oiktos often refers back to the emotion itself. Johnson additionally attracts institutions among compassion and the thoughts of worry and pity, which Aristotle famously attributed to tragedy.
as the Athenian performs are tragedies, they normally exhibit the disastrous results of a global the place compassion falls brief. whilst, they provide glimpses right into a international the place compassion can generate a extra beneficial—and accordingly extra hopeful—outcome. Their message resonates with today’s readers up to it did for fifth-century Athenians.
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Extra info for Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series)
Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series) by James Franklin Johnson